“Human beings can always be relied upon to exert, with vigor, their God-given right to be stupid.”
― Dean Koontz
I came across the above quote a few years ago and it has been confirmed over and over again as the years have rolled by. With the access many Nigerians now have to the internet and social media sites, the truth of this quote has been amplified like never before.
When heard about the sad death of another young, creative Nigerian artiste Goldie, it could only bring that tinge of sadness I get when a youth dies. I’ve sort of become numb to death, covering tragic accidents as a local reporter back then put paid to that. I lost two people this year; a teenager and a young adult in January. They were siblings to close friends, and all I can say about that tragedy is that it isn’t funny. Death is part of our reality as humans but death is not a joke, maybe the grim reaper gets to laugh about it but we don’t.
So the madness on twitter about her death only got me incensed in a way I did not expect. What is there to laugh about when someone dies? Tragic news breaks and minutes later, some sick individuals with the sole achievement of having internet access and a twitter account became instant comedians. What satisfaction do such people receive over the misfortune of another man/woman who hasn’t harmed you in any way (presumably)? Oh well, a new acquaintance of mine says our values can now be found enjoying a bubble bath in the gutter. That’s where we have shoved it over the years.
I’m not standing as a moral authority here, heck I’ve done a whole lot of stupid things in my short time on earth. But I’m smart enough to realise that while some people make jokes about it, her parents, close friends and relatives are still coming to terms with the shock and pain over the loss of a daughter, sister, friend, lover, and another human being in general.
The sad thing is that if a nutcase should let fly with a semi-automatic at a mall in America, these same people would rail and scream to the high heavens about how terrible the tragedy is. But when one of our own dies, we shrug, scoff and some of us decide to use it as a source of amusement. As gruesome as the #Aluu4 tragedy was last year, people still joked about it but amazingly, the same lot displayed genuine sadness about the cinema shootings in the US. We perfectly fit the Chinese description of those who sniff foreign farts and choose to enjoy it as perfume.
Shun such insensitivity and condemn it when it crops up. The same author I quoted above put it perfectly when he said, “We must know the pain of loss; because if we never knew it, we would have no compassion for others, and we would become monsters of self-regard, creatures of unalloyed self-interest. The terrible pain of loss teaches humility to our prideful kind, has the power to soften uncaring hearts, to make a better person of a good one.” (Dean Koontz, The Darkest Evening of the Year).
And please note that I am not trying to score cheap popularity points with the late Goldie. I’m not really a fan because we all have different musical leanings (I liked ‘You Know It’ featuring El dee though) but I can’t sit idly by while people sling crap all in the name of tweeting. Goldie might not be the most talented artiste, she might not have the most appealing voice but I dare say that she’s bloody creative and resilient. I respect that. Talent isn’t everything; if it was, the guitar slinging dude in my area would have ‘blown’ by now.
Still, some of those people will say not to judge them by their tweets. Sorry bro/sis, you will be judged by what you tweet in the court of common sense if not morality. You are what you tweet, out of the abundance of the heart the hands ‘tweeteth’.
So let’s have a bit more respect for the dead next time shall we, especially when they can’t reply or reprimand us.
“Death comes equally to us all, and makes us all equal when it comes” – John DonneRIP Ada Aloka, Dennis Eto and Goldie Harvey